The home to consumer electronics and entertainment.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wii-fi: Nintendo Wii is for you and me

Of the three next-generation videogame consoles, the Nintendo Wii is considered by many to be the most exciting. The Wii will easily be the most affordable of the three when it’s released later this year and at the same time one of the most innovative consoles in a long time.

The essence of Nintendo’s strategy is the belief that videogames have become too complicated for all but the most dedicated gamers. The Wii is designed to appeal to the kind of people who don’t normally play games. Perhaps the biggest attraction will be the amazing Wii remote which is unlike any controller ever seen before. The remote has inbuilt sensors which can sense motion in three dimensions allowing you to play games through natural movements instead of just pressing buttons.

To showcase the remote, the Wii will come bundled with a game called Wii Sports featuring a number of different games which you can play with natural movements: e.g. swinging the remote to play tennis or golf. Despite its strategy of innovation, Nintendo hasn’t forgotten its much loved franchises; one of the most hotly anticipated games of the year is the new Zelda game which will be available on launch.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The skinny on HD-DVD

Of the two next-generation video formats fighting it out, HD-DVD appears to be less innovative but more affordable and convenient. Like Blu-Ray it’s being developed by a group of electronics companies, this time headed by Toshiba.

HD-DVD uses blue lasers like Blu-Ray but the underlying technology shares some basic features with the DVD. This means that HD-DVD has a simpler manufacturing process which allows for cheaper discs and players though the discs have less capacity per layer (15GB to Blu-Ray’s 25GB). Of course the dual-layer capacity of 30 GB is still massive: more than enough for a full-length movie in high definition along with ample extra features on the same disc. As with Blu-Ray, personal computers are a big, potential market and Toshiba has already released a desktop with an HD-DVD drive.

So far with more than 50 titles, HD-DVD is ahead of Blu-Ray when it comes to video releases. The titles include some fairly popular movies of recent years like the Tom Hanks space epic: “Apollo 13”, “The Last Samurai” with Tom Cruise and the award-winning “Ray”. Trek fans will be pleased to know that the entire Star Trek movie collection will be released on HD-DVD later this year.

Technorati Tags

Blu-Ray | HD-DVD

Friday, September 08, 2006

True Blu? Sony's Blu-Ray

Blu-Ray is one of the two formats competing for the next generation of home video and has been developed by a group of consumer electronics companies spearheaded by Sony.

Of the two formats, Blu-Ray is the bigger technological departure from DVD which means a more complicated manufacturing process but also bigger capacity. Currently a single layer disc stores 25 GB and 50 GB dual-layer discs are also available. The latter can hold 9 hours of high-definition video or 23 hours of regular video. 100 GB and even 200 GB discs are also being developed.

Such enormous storage means that Blu-Ray discs can be used to back up your computer hard drive; Sony laptops and desktops with blu-ray recorders are already available. As camcorders become more common and hard-drives overflow with enormous video files, high-capacity optical discs will become increasingly useful.

However what may determine the fate of Blu-ray is the number of popular titles which are available. So far there are more than 30 titles including the martial arts epic: House of Flying Daggers, the comedy Hitch and the award-winning Crash. A couple of this summer’s blockbusters: Superman Returns and Mission Impossible 3 are due to be released later this year.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Indian Telly Wars: Cable v DTH?

Did your cable TV viewing just get a bit more complicated with an alphabet soup of acronyms? CAS? DTH?

In an informative and easy-to-read article on CAS and DTH, Rediff.com gives you the lowdown on the technologies that promise to make your TV viewing cheaper and easier.

The DVD Wars: Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD

The fight to decide the format that will replace DVD is one of the most intriguing and hotly contested battles in the consumer electronics world. The result will sway the fortunes of giant corporations and shape the home video market for the next decade.

The two contenders are Blu-Ray promoted by Sony and HD-DVD promoted by Toshiba. Both technologies use blue laser and provide discs with over 30GB of storage: more than six times that of a typical DVD. More disk space means higher resolution video which can take better advantage of the capabilities of the latest HDTV televisions.

HD-DVD has been faster off the blocks with its players and video releases and is also cheaper than Blu-Ray: the result of a simpler manufacturing process. Some observers think that these advantages will mean eventual victory just as VHS won over Sony’s Betamax in the video wars of the 80s.

However Sony’s ace up its sleeve is the Playstation 3: its hotly anticipated videogame console which will be released in a few months. The PS3 will be capable of playing blu-ray disks which means millions of homes with blu-ray players just when the format wars start heating up next year.

Technorati Tags
Blu-Ray | HD-DVD

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A girl's best friend? Plasma TV

Next time you want to win your girlfriend over after a lover's tiff, buy her a plasma television instead of a diamond necklace.

According to a new study in the US, three in four women would prefer a new plasma television to a diamond necklace.

The study, conducted by Oxygen Network, a cable TV company owned and operated by women, found that women owned on average 6.6 technology devices as opposed to 6.9 devices by men. The survey, aptly titled Girls Gone Wired, also found that 46 per cent of women did their own computer trouble-shooting.

Monday, August 28, 2006

ABC of DVD players

Compared to televisions and audio systems the DVD player is a relatively humble and inexpensive part of your home theatre. However if you want to get the best possible movie experience it’s important to choose one wisely. Here are a couple of things you should look out for.

Today’s DVD players aren’t just used to play regular DVD’s. You might want to play audio CD’s or your MP3 files or perhaps the home video you burnt on to a CD-ROM. Make sure your player is compatible with as many formats as possible: for instance both MP3 and WMA audio formats, both NTSC and PAL and the multitude of DVD formats: DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RW etc.

You should also take a close look at the remote control. You will often be watching movies in the dark and the remote should be easy to handle. The main buttons for stopping and moving forward and backward should be large and well placed and ideally the remote should light up in the dark. Since there are very few controls on the unit itself, the remote also indicates which features are available. Check for features like slow-motion or zoom which aren’t present on all players.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Home theatre receivers

The receiver is like the brain of your audio-system: gathering and processing the audio-signals and sending them to the various speakers. Choosing the right receiver is very important in building a great home theatre system.

Home theatre receivers are often classified according to the number of speakers they support: e.g. 6.1 receiver supports 6 speakers and a subwoofer. Generally receivers range from 5.1 to 7.1. Make sure your receiver supports the number of speakers you wish to use.

It’s also important to ensure that your receiver is compatible with as many audio formats as possible: like Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Pro Logic. Though it’s not an audio format, THX certification is also highly desirable. THX is the technology used in top-notch theatre sound systems and THX certification means that your receiver is able to recreate an authentic theatre-like experience in your living room.

Home theatres also come with various special features. For instance the Yamaha RXV-457 comes with a feature for ensuring that image and sound are properly synchronized: e.g. when people are talking. Other special features include Night Listening Enhancer which maintains the quality and range of the sound when the volume is set low.

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